Regular Readers of VETTE will sense a theme here. In our previous issue, we highlighted a number of ways to enhance, modify, or rework a Corvette to create a whole new look and level of performance. Well, we aren't done yet. In this second installment, we're following this thread even further, coming across more ways to repurpose America's favorite sports car.
This time, we're including a couple more examples of the legendary Grand Sports that are just coming on the market, both of which are authentic GM-licensed products. Or, if you like to mix old and new, you can "bring it forward" with a modernized version of a '62 Corvette. Finally, if you favor more personalized and high-performance versions of a late-model Corvette, we'll touch on a few examples of those as well.
The point is, you can have a horse of a different color, but with the reassuring knowledge that underneath it all is a full-blooded thoroughbred.
Adding Some Artistic License
Art Richards of Art's Corvettes started out repairing and restoring Vettes in the early '70s, but has always looked ahead of the curve. His interest in all types of racing, from drag racing to F1, has been an inspiration in his advanced-look designs, which have included FIA-style wide-body Corvettes for street use. Yet it was the debut of the silver car seen above that really created a stir at the SEMA show back in 2004.
According to Art's son Drew, it happened to be located near the GM booth, and the company's head designer came by and began asking all kinds of questions. "He asked us how we got a C6 before they came out," Drew relates. "We chuckled and told him it was a C5. The first time we had seen a finished product of the new C6, our car was already in primer. Before he left he told us both the car was one of the most beautiful designs he had seen, which made all the hard work worth it."
Besides the obvious body mods and hand-built Lambo-style doors, the car-called the California Spyder GTP-also features an array of other upgrades, such as a paddle shifter, an onboard PC, a custom audio/video system, and night-vision side mirrors. The widened fenders are filled by ACS Centerlock wheels (11 and 13 inches wide, front and rear; tires measure 315/25R19 and 335/30R20, respectively).
Taking this design to the next level is the orange coupe version shown below. The intakes on the body have been altered somewhat to create a more distinctive look, and the body and interior include carbon-fiber. Other upgrades range from Wilwood brakes to a custom exhaust, along with Hotchkis suspension mods.
Out of concern for preventing copycats, the wide-body components are currently only available already mounted on a Corvette. Pricing starts at $27,500 in primer, and numerous upgrades are available, such as coilovers, airbags, rims, interior trim, and custom paint. If a customer doesn't have a Corvette already, the company can purchase one at a wholesale price and pass the savings along.
In addition to the Corvette body conversions shown here, Art's Corvettes has other products and services available for creating custom vehicles, including everything from custom bodies to high-performance applications. Art's son Drew has a diverse background that includes some automotive design training at the famous Art Center in Pasadena, California, plus expertise in Solid Works and hands-on automotive design and fabrication work. Drew's experience allows him to lay out his designs on paper, build the clay and foam models, then create the full carbon-fiber-and-fiberglass bodies. Together, their skills have combined to create not only Corvette body conversions, but also ground-up vehicles using Corvette components. Stay tuned for even more-advanced designs.